When the Supreme Court last created a rule about students’ First Amendment rights, MySpace was the most popular social media platform. Students’ use of social media and technology has radically changed since then, and it is time the First Amendment case law reflects that. With the transition to online learning after the COVID-19 pandemic and overall increased reliance on technology, students need clear answers about when school officials can punish them for their social media posts.

The Supreme Court had a chance to clarify First Amendment student speech law this year in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., but instead, left it up to the lower courts to decide when school officials can punish students for their off-campus speech. However, the current circuit courts’ tests are unclear and heavily favor school officials. This Essay argues that the lower courts should instead adopt a test where school officials cannot punish students for their off-campus speech unless it falls within an exception to the First Amendment.